Whether you aspire to be a spiritual practitioner or a successful person materially…to become a sage, or a leader or a king, the only way that you can achieve your goal is by never giving up! In this very special talk, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya comments on an inspiring verse from the epic Mahabharata and he teaches us how to take control of our destiny!
“O my son Yudhishthira, you should always exert yourself with diligence, for without diligence of exertion mere destiny never accomplishes the objects cherished by kings. These two – exertion and destiny – are equal in their operation. Of them, however, I regard exertion to be superior, for destiny is ascertained from the results of what is begun with exertion. Do not indulge in grief if what is commenced ends disastrously, for you should then exert yourself in the same act with redoubled attention. This is the high duty of kings.” (Mahabharata, Book 12; Shanti Parva; Rajadharma-anushasana Parva; 56)
What is the highest aspect of God that should be worshiped in the Kali Yuga, and what is the most effective means of worshiping Him? In this historic livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya reveals the answers to these two important questions by providing us with the conclusive purport to an important verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam.
“It is certainly the case that in this Age of Kali wise men worship, through sacrificial rituals predominantly consisting of reciting the names of the Lord and singing praises to Him, the Lord who is of a dark-blue color, though He is bright in luster, who is accompanied by His associates, flawless in all of His limbs, equipped with His weapons, and served by His attendants.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.5.32) (Translation by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya)
Can some individuals seem on the surface level to be engaging in Vedic religious practices, while in actuality having crass materialistic motivations as their goal? As Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explains in session thirteen of his legendary Narada Bhakti Sutras class, there have always been religious materialists – people who practice religion for the sake of material advancement, gratification of ego, fame and greed. Indeed, it is precisely religious materialism that fuels much of the modern New Age phenomenon, as well as fundamentalism and the prevalence of fraudulent “gurus” today. Sri Acharyaji shows us in his commentary on the Narada Bhakti Sutras how to transcend such crass religious materialism, and how to achieve pure and true spiritual liberation.
Join us for this very special livestream event as Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya answers spiritual questions in his last livestream for 2021. May Sriman Narayana bless all His sincere and virtuous devotees for the new year!
A Great Spiritual Awakening is presently occurring among multiple millions of good people throughout the world. The future will be one in which Dharma (God’s Natural Laws) is on the ascendency, evil is vanquished, and God’s devotees are victorious!
In order to help facilitate the ultimate triumph of hope, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya has proclaimed Sunday, December 26th, “Holy Name Day”. On this day, at 7pm Central Standard Time, we are encouraging millions of people throughout the entire world to recite the holy names of God 108 times.
The specific mantra that we are asking you to recite is:
Aum Namo Narayanaya
With millions of devotees united in reciting the holy name of God at the same time, we will pray for personal empowerment from God to heal our families and our Earth, to restore hope to our hearts, and to empower us personally to restore Dharma in this world. Please join us all on Sunday, December 26th at 7pm (CST) for this sacred, worldwide spiritual event.
According to the Bhavishya Purana (one of the traditionally accepted scriptural texts comprising the 18 Puranas), Jesus was not a follower of the Abrahamic tradition. In actuality, his Sanskrit name was Isha Putra (“Son of God”) and he was a Dharma Master whose mission was to teach the Vedic path to the Abrahamists of the Middle East. In this very unique talk, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya reveals to us the esoteric teachings of Isha Putra, the Vedic Jesus!
“The king asked, ‘Who are you sir?’ ‘You should know that I am Isha Putra, the Son of God’, he replied blissfully, and ‘am born of a virgin.’” (Bhavishya Purana, Chaturyuga Khanda, Dvitiyadhyayah, 19.23)
“‘I am the expounder of the religion of the mlecchas and I strictly adhere to the Absolute Truth.’ Hearing this the king enquired, ‘What are the principles of Dharma according to your opinion?’ (Bhavishya Purana, Chaturyuga Khanda, Dvitiyadhyayah, 19.24)
“[Isha Putra (Jesus) declared] Please hear, Oh king, which Dharmic principles I have established among the barbarians (mlecchas). The living entity is subject to good and bad contaminations. The mind should be purified by taking recourse of proper conduct and the performance of meditation on the chanting of the holy names of God (japa). By chanting the holy names one attains the highest purity. Just as the immovable sun attracts the elements of all living beings from all directions, in the same way the Lord (Narayana) of the Surya Mandala [solar realm], who is fixed and all-attractive, attracts the hearts of all living creatures. Thus, by following spiritual principles, speaking truthful words, by mental harmony and by meditation, Oh descendant of Manu, one should worship that immovable Lord.” (Bhavishya Purana, Chaturyuga Khanda, Dvitiyadhyayah, 19.27-29)
“Having placed the eternally pure and auspicious form of the Supreme Lord in my heart, O protector of the earth planet, I preached these principles through the mlecchas’ own faith and thus my name became ‘Isha-Masiha’ (Jesus the Messiah).” (Bhavishya Purana, Chaturyuga Khanda, Dvitiyadhyayah, 19.30)
One of the most spiritually debilitating behaviors that a person can chose to be trapped by is negativity. Negativity keeps us from making the right choices; from being in connection with reality; and from achieving anything good in either the material or spiritual dimensions of our lives. In this inspiring video, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explains to us how we can defeat negativity in our lives, and enjoy the very real happiness that we all truly desire.
In this very special livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya will be commenting on two verses from the Gitartha Samgraha, written by the great Vaishnava guru Sri Yamuna Acharya.
The Gitartha Samgraha (“Compilation on the Meaning of the Bhagavad Gita”) is not a Vedic scripture, but is Sri Yamuna Acharya’s famous summary commentary on the essence of the Bhagavad Gita.
“In the scripture known as the Bhagavad Gita, Narayana, the Supreme Brahman, is declared. He is attainable by Bhakti alone, which is to be brought about by the observance of one’s own Dharma, acquisition of knowledge and renunciation of attachment.” (Gitārtha Samgraha of Sri Yamuna Acharya, 1)
“When one’s nescience is removed and one perceives the self as subservient to the Supreme, one attains supreme devotion and through it alone reaches His realm. There is vaidhi-bhakti or discipline-bound devotion. Next there is para-bhakti (higher devotion of love). Then there is the final stage parama-bhakti or pre-eminently supreme love.” (Gitārtha Samgraha of Sri Yamuna Acharya, 26)
ayuh—duration of life; sattva—existence; bala—strength; arogya—health; sukha—happiness; priti—and satisfaction; vivardhanah—increasing; rasyah—juicy; snigdhah—fatty; sthirah—enduring; hrdyah—pleasing to the heart; aharah—food; sattvika—to one in goodness; priyah—palatable.
Foods in the mode of goodness increase the duration of life, purify one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction. Such nourishing foods are sweet, juicy, fattening and palatable. Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, pungent, dry and hot, are liked by people in the modes of passion. Such foods cause pain, distress, and disease. Food cooked more than three hours before being eaten, which is tasteless, stale, putrid, decomposed and unclean, is food liked by people in the mode of ignorance.
The purpose of food is to increase the duration of life, purify the mind and aid bodily strength. This is its only purpose. In the past, great authorities selected those foods that best aid health and increase life’s duration, such as milk products, sugar, rice, wheat, fruits and vegetables. These foods are very dear to those in the mode of goodness. Some other foods, such as baked corn and molasses, while not very palatable in themselves, can be made pleasant when mixed with milk or other foods. They are then in the mode of goodness. All these foods are pure by nature. They are quite distinct from untouchable things like meat and liquor. Fatty foods, as mentioned in the eighth verse, have no connection with animal fat obtained by slaughter. Animal fat is available in the form of milk, which is the most wonderful of all foods. Milk, butter, cheese and similar products give animal fat in a form which rules out any need for the killing of innocent creatures. It is only through brute mentality that this killing goes on. The civilized method of obtaining needed fat is by milk. Slaughter is the way of subhumans. Protein is amply available through split peas, dhall, whole wheat, etc.
As highlighted in the previous article on the topic of the Yamas and Niyamas, the principle of Non-Violence (or Ahimsa) is a core value of the philosophy of Sanatana Dharma, and a guiding tenet in the lives of all practicing Dharmis.
This principle is primarily, but not exclusively, expressed through the dietary parameters adopted by the devotees of Sanatana Dharma. Non-violence is practiced by the strict observation of a lacto-vegetarian diet, a diet that excludes all meat, fish and eggs, but that includes dairy products, such as milk, cheese, ghee, yogurt, etc.
Vegetarianism has gained a great measure of popularity and acceptance in wider society throughout the world in recent years, for many reasons.
Medical data continually arises, linking meat-eating with a number of illnesses and ailments in life, such as cancer and heart disease. Contrary to popular belief, meat foods are not a necessary component of the human diet. In fact, evolutionarily and biologically, humans are not designed to be carnivores. Our teeth and intestinal structures are best suited for an herbivorous (vegetarian) diet.
The advent of technology and instant communication has allowed the wider propagation of leaks and footage from within the industrial slaughterhouses and medical/commercial testing facilities alike. Likewise, so too have the environmental impacts of wide scale livestock production for the sake of industrial distribution become more widely known, as well as the wasteful policies of the meat industry. Like humans, animals are sentient living beings, and have been proven to be capable of feeling pain and suffering. Animals, like humans, cry out if cut; they scream if killed; they mourn if separated from those they are attached to. Knowing this, then witnessing footage from behind the scenes of a slaughterhouse, is enough to turn any right persons stomach. As a result of that natural human capacity for empathy, many people have rejected the dietary inclusion of meat products solely in protest of those inhumane acts.
Economically, the global meat production industry has had damaging effects on the natural environment of the world, and the effects are far reaching. In order to sustain an ever growing demand for flesh, Central and South American rain forests are being decimated at the alarming rate of 2.5 acres per second, and growing. Much of this destruction is occurring in order to provide grazing land for beef cattle. Every burger we eat represents a tree mowed down in a rain forest, and by association the death of wild fauna, the destruction of natural habitats, the erosion of soils and damage of natural water tables. The latter especially, given that the the meat industry has been repeatedly cited as one of the major industries responsible for massive amounts of pollution, including the dumping of noxious wastes into the global water supply.
These, and many other considerations, make it astoundingly clear why the vegetarian lifestyle is an ethical alternative that is both reasonable and healthy for your body, mind and soul. Violent minds lead to violent lifestyles. In such a state of consciousness, it is impossible to make any serious advancement on the spiritual path, so for anyone inclined towards Sanatana Dharma, the adoption of a vegetarian lifestyle is an easy decision to make.
Mankind has long been aware of its seemingly God-given position of superiority over over animals within the hierarchy of being. Abrahamic and neo-pagan constructionist thinkers alike have long used such an argument as justification for the consumption of our so-called ‘inferior’ companions within this material existence. It is, however, important to consider that mans higher status does not automatically give us the right to kill other lifeforms simply for our selfish ends.
To rule does not give justification for abuse or mistreatment.
In fact, the rulers of men who come to view their people as chattel to be used, traded and discarded at a whim often end up losing their own heads in time. The mere position of superiority over another sentient being can never be interpreted as a license for abusing a less capable being, or a class of such beings. Superiority means responsibility, a duty of care, to those below.
If we argue that we as humans have the right to exploit so-called inferior lifeforms for the sake of the tongue, then it would be morally permissible for one human to enslave and victimize another, for the sake of base sense gratification. An intellectually or physically more powerful man could justifiably kill another, weaker man, solely at a whim or because his ego desires it. Physically weaker women and children would be at the mercy of stronger, aggressive men. Societies that permit such acts rarely last long, for tolerance of such philosophy only leads to mayhem and the decline of civilization.
This does not preclude the “ownership” or collaborative existence with animals that mankind has engaged in since time immemorial. To engage the services of those lesser lifeforms with which we share this planet, in turn rendering to them protection, sustenance and shelter, is not abuse. As a caring and protective parent engages a child in chores to keep them occupied, and to ease the burden of labour of the family, so to can we engage those non-human lifeforms who’s companies we keep.
For example take the hound and the cow. The human relationship with both creatures has been around far longer than records go back. The hound has often aided man in endeavors such as tracking, protection and threat detection, and pest control. Humans in turn provided the animals shelter, company, consistent sustenance and other forms of protection.
As for the cow, the cow is the backbone of human civilization. Human agriculture, before the advent of modern petroleum fueled machinery, was only made possible on a wider scale thanks to the labour of the bull as much as as the labour of man. The bull would pull the plow, and the cart, and the cow would give up its milk, excess to the needs of the calf, for the sustenance of man.
The cow especially is revered within vedic culture for this reason. The human and the cow have a symbiotic nature unsurpassed by any other creature. Whilst this connection has for the most part been lost in the wake of the cold and impersonal form of modern agriculture, were society to collapse overnight and man forced to rebuild from the ruins, the men amongst the ruins would soon realize the value of the cow beyond their mere base desire for their flesh. That is one reason why Vedic culture places such reverence upon cows.
This reverence of cows, and understanding of the symbiotic relationship that man is capable of having with the lifeforms of the animal kingdom, is the reason why followers of Sanatana Dharma can and will partake in the consumption of dairy products such as milk and cheese. We do not promote or encourage veganism by any measure, though for some it may be the only option when faced with an unfortunate intolerant to dairy products. Excluding specific health reasons, the encouragement of veganism is not regarded as dharmic, and seen as detrimental to the human body and mind.
Linked below is a video by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya on the subject of vegetarianism and its relationship to Sanatana Dharma, that goes much more in depth on the subject. A must watch.
For most walking our path, the motivating factor behind their acceptance of Sanatana Dharma is their innate desire or motivation to know and live truth.
As a result, it is crucially important for the Dharmi to live as ethical a life as possible. For the follower of Dharma, the Good, the True, the Real, the Beautiful, the Eternal, and the Absolute, in the highest metaphysical sense, are all one and the same. Thus, one cannot know the Absolute unless one also knows the Good. And one cannot know the Good unless one also is good.
Every religious or philosophical system in the world holds some position in the realm of ethical thought. Life and the consideration of ethics are inseparable. The realm of ethics, stated very simply, centers upon the question of what constitutes good versus bad behavior on the part of human beings. Symptomatic of the fallen age we reside in, many of the so called ethical conclusions that a man comes to are anything but. Nonetheless, however, objective morality and ethical principles do exist.
It is the goal of the Dharmi to strive to embody that which is right and good. To take the most ethical action possible in any given situation. The nature of goodness itself is seen as being ultimately rooted in, and as being a reflection of, the Divine. Thus, good in this world, both in the form of Goodness itself as a metaphysical reality and in the form of good actions, has its origins in Transcendent reality…in the very essential nature of the Divine.
How though, in the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, is this expressed?
In the teachings of Sanatana Dharma, that which is good is separated into two different categories: a) good as a virtue, and b) good in action.
Goodness as an inherent virtue of the living being has its origin in the very soul (atman) of each living being. The goal of the spiritual seeker is to make the inherent goodness of our internal soul manifest in the external world for all to see and benefit from. To perfectly manifest our own soul’s inherent goodness is synonymous with being an enlightened, liberated being, and reflecting that inner state outward for the world to benefit.
Goodness in action, on the other hand, consists of the day-to-day, free-will decisions that we need to make in always seeking the higher path in how we treat others. These good behaviors in action are the ethical and moral principles that we must each follow as we are on the road to full self-realization and God-consciousness.
The forms in which Goodness is expressed, both through thought and action, is best found in the Yamas and Niyamas, as explained below. The following commentary was given by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya in his book “Sanatana Dharma- The Eternal Natural Way”.
Five Yamas – Proscriptions
Ahimsa (Non-Violence) –
Ahimsa is one of the most important of the ethical proscriptions. Contrary to the false notion that Vedic spirituality believes is passivism, the principle of ahimsa does not support passivism or a lack of will to defend oneself. On the contrary, we are called upon to be strong and courageous warriors for our people, our nation, and for Dharma. However, the principle of ahimsa does insist that we are to be as maximally non-violent in our minds and in our hearts as is possible, even as we defend Truth, and especially in how we treat our fellow Dharmis and all innocent living beings around us.
Satya (Truthfulness) –
For followers of Dharma, Truth is much more than merely the opposite of a lie. Rather, Truth is seen as being one of the infinite, positive attributes of the Divine. Truthfulness is followed both in our attempt to always tell the truth, but more, also in that we are meant to manifest Truth (God) in our everyday lives in all of our thoughts, words and actions. In practicing the telling of truth verbal, we are manifesting the highest Truth spiritually.
Asteya (Non-Stealing) –
All property, up to and including the very Earth herself, ultimately belongs to the Supreme. To not steal means both to not take from others, as well as to acknowledge who is the ultimate owner of all things. Theft is the direct result of suffering from the illusion that we are in lack. For those who are devoted to God, we know that the soul can never lack, and that the very source and owner of all reality is none other than our very best friend.
Brahmacharya (Sexual Continence) –
Sexuality is one of the most powerful natural forces found in living beings. We must have fidelity to the Good in how we relate to others sexually; never exploiting others for selfish pleasure, but always reflecting the pure and healthy love that is God’s gift to us. What this means in concrete terms is that sexuality only finds its ultimate fulfillment within the context of a loving marriage between a man and a woman.
Apirigraha (Non-Covetousness) –
It is in transcending the ugly impulse of greed that we overcome the illusion of the egoic self. To be non-covetous is to realize that wealth, material goods and property alone are not sufficient to give us the lasting fulfillment and happiness that we seek. Rather, it is in living within our means, pursuing a life of simple living and high thinking, that we find both material fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment.
Five Niyamas – Prescriptions
Purity consists of both scrupulous external hygiene, and internal cleanliness of mind. The former is achieved by bathing, brushing one’s teeth, etc., every day without fail. The latter is accomplished by allowing only good, pure, positive and spiritual thoughts to flourish in our minds, and by conversely not allowing the opposite – evil, impure, negative and materialistic thoughts – to dominate our minds.
Discontent is the root of all immoral and unethical actions. It is because we are discontent that we feel the false necessity to exploit and harm others. When we are content, we approach the world as God’s kingdom, rather than a mere playground for our own selfish exploitation. As is true of all the Yamas and Niyamas, contentment is a quality that can be cultivated by daily spiritual practice.
Tapas is choosing to challenge ourselves each day to take the path that will make ourselves stronger, rather than weaker. It means taking the stairs up to our apartment rather than the elevator whenever we can. It means walking the four blocks to the store rather than driving. It means pushing ourselves toward excellence, increased strength and health, and personal growth whenever we see the opportunity to do so arise in our day to day lives. It means always choosing that path that will further elevate us in our personal life.
Svadhyaya (Self-Education) –
Svadhyaya includes both the daily self-analysis that is such a crucial exercise in our spiritual journey, as well as daily study of the wisdom of the Dharmic scriptures, such as the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras, Narada Bhakti Sutras, Srimad Bhagavatam, and the Upanishads. In addition, self-education occurs when we study the teachings and writings of our own guru (spiritual teacher).
Ishvara-Pranidhana (Devotion to the Divine) –
The daily cultivation of devotional consciousness (bhakti) is the ultimate path to knowing the Divine, because devotion is the very opposite of selfishness. In selfishness, we merely try to take from the world around us. In devotion, we give of ourselves, and in love, back to our Source, which is God, and to all other living beings. Devotion to the Divine can be practiced by meditation upon such Holy Name mantras as “Aum Namo Narayanaya”, by conducting simple but meaningful puja ceremonies in one’s own home, or by serving God directly by supporting those authentic gurus who teach the world the path of liberation by supporting such gurus either with one’s volunteer service (seva) or charitable donations.
In addition to the Yamas and Niyamas, there are twelve primary qualities that every Dharmi should strive to cultivate in themselves. These include:
After all, there is no spiritual progress without the prerequisite practice of conscious and concerted ethical development. To be a Dharmi means, by definition, to be a wholly virtuous person. By sincerely and strictly following the Yamas and Niyamas, as well as cultivating the above twelve indispensable virtues in your life, you will begin the process of manifesting the innate virtue necessary to fully open yourself to God’s presence and grace, and realizing the ultimate reality of your true spiritual self.
One of the most terrible tragedies experienced by so many millions of people today has been the debilitating problem of addictions. Whether we are speaking of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, video games, raging emotions or pornography, addictions have brought about a degree of suffering to the lives of millions that is unimaginable. In this moving video, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya addresses a viewer’s question on how to overcome addictions with tremendous compassion, directness and wise insight. The root causes of addiction are ultimately a spiritual deficiency. The solution is, likewise, a spiritual answer.
One of the most important features of God’s nature is that He pervades all of spiritual and material reality. In this livestream discourse and Q&A session, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya gives us a glipse of the all-pervasive nature of Vishnu. “Śrī Pippalāyana said: Nārāyaṇa is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior cause. He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep and also exists beyond them. By entering the body of every living being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions. My dear King, know that Nārāyaṇa to be the Supreme.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.3.35)
One of the most important principles that the religious tradition of Sanatana Dharma teaches us is that we are at all times surrounded by the blessings and grace of God. Despite the fact that God is always bestowing His blessings upon us, many of us struggle to be aware of God’s tremendous gifts in our lives. In this exclusive talk that was delivered February 27, 2021 on the ISDS Discord server, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya shares with us the nature of God’s blessings, as well as the importance of cultivating a deeper sense of appreciation, gratitude and thanksgiving in our lives. If you wish to receive God’s blessings, then be a blessing in the lives of others.
The nature of God is one of the most important philosophical/theological topics to be understood. According to the Vedic scriptures and the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, God transcends all materiality, illusion, faults and defects. God is never – ever – subject to illusion. In this livestream talk, Sri Dharma Prvartaka Acharya discusses the transcendental nature of God by examining two verses from the Srimad Bhagavatam.
niṣṭhām arhatha no vaktuṁ
yūyaṁ hi brahma-vittamāḥ
“King Nimi inquired: Please explain to me the transcendental situation of the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa, who is Himself the Absolute Truth and the Supersoul of everyone. You can explain this to me, because you are all most expert in transcendental knowledge. (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.3.34)
sthity-udbhava-pralaya-hetur ahetur asya
yat svapna-jāgara-suṣuptiṣu sad bahiś ca
dehendriyāsu-hṛdayāni caranti yena
sañjīvitāni tad avehi paraṁ narendra
“Śrī Pippalāyana said: Nārāyaṇa is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior cause. He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep and also exists beyond them. By entering the body of every living being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions. My dear King, know that Nārāyaṇa to be the Supreme.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.3.35)
In this continuation of his now legendary Narada Bhakti Sutras class, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explains in great depth the relationship between philosophy and direct spiritual experience; the subtleties of spiritual epistemology; the differences between pure devotion versus mixed devotion; and the clear superiority of the path of bhakti for the purpose of knowing God, compared to every other spiritual path and form of Yoga.